Who Will Pay for my Medical Bills when I am Injured in a Car Accident?
By: Halina Radchenko
Many times my clients tell me that they felt pain at the scene of a motor vehicle accident, but were afraid to request medical treatment because they did not have medical insurance and were afraid that they would be personally responsible for the medical bills. If you were injured in the State of New York as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you are likely entitled to no-fault benefits. No-fault benefits can pay for the costs associated with medical treatment, time lost from work, and out of pocket expenses you may have as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
No-Fault provides all passengers, certain drivers, and all pedestrians who have been injured in the State of New York as a result of a motor vehicle accident a minimum of fifty thousand dollars of insurance coverage. The coverage is triggered by being involved in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who was at fault, thus creating its name, “No-Fault” Coverage. No-fault coverage will pay for medical bills associated with treatment for the injuries you sustained as a result of the accident. It will reimburse the wages you lost due to the fact that your injuries prohibited you from working. It will also reimburse your out of pocket expenses such as pharmacy bills, bills associated with transportation to medical appointments, and bills for medical equipment you may need.
Once I explain the concept of No-Fault Coverage to my clients, their immediate follow up question is usually “How do I apply?” In order to obtain the benefits of No-Fault Coverage, the injured person must file a No-Fault Application with the insurance company of the motor vehicle they were driving or were a passenger in within 30 days of the date of the accident. If the injured party is a pedestrian then they must file a No-Fault Application with the insurance company of the motor vehicle that hit them within thirty days of the date of accident. Here is the link to the New York State No-Fault Application as published by the New York State Department of Financial Services: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/acrobat/nf3.pdf
If you were a passenger or a pedestrian injured in an accident and you do not know who the insurance company of the vehicle is, you can find that information in the Police Accident Report. The line on the NYC Police Accident Report that indicates the plate number, state of registration, vehicle year and make, and vehicle type also has a code that indicates the insurance company. In New York State this is a three digit code. The insurance company associated with the code can be found via the internet on the New York State Department of Financial Services’ website: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/dmvindex.htm
Once you identify the insurance company of the necessary vehicle, you can call it to set up a claim, then submit a completed No-Fault application to trigger the No-Fault coverage. The insurance company will provide you with a claim number that you can reference to access your claim as well as an address where you can send medical bills, proof of lost wages, and other out of pocket expenses.
If you have been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, don’t be afraid to speak up at the scene of the accident and request medical attention; know that you may be eligible for No-Fault benefits.
In addition to no-fault benefits you may also be in a position to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you would like a cost free evaluation of your right to bring a lawsuit, you can contact the law firm of Hach & Rose, LLP, at 212-779-0057 or 866-LAWS-USA or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.